Friday, November 14, 2008
This tree is very connected to the earth. The wind has bent it but not uprooted it.
Have you ever felt disconnected?
It was a day in 1978 my father had been to England to look for work I remember him walking up the road of our council estate we had been watching for him as we knew he had been away for a few days. It was great to see him he looked tired but happy. He had trained for this job and spent a long time looking for the perfect place to take his family and he felt he had found it with the offer of a job in England. This is when a searching sense of being disconnected was born in me. This moment of knowing we were leaving was when I felt I had lost something. Not my roots because your roots are your roots they will always remain, I will always be Irish but at the age of 8 my roots became disconnected from the land.
I remember getting in my dads morris minor in 1978 6 of us! No rear seat belts a bit of a tight squeeze but we all got in. This was the disconnect, the restlessness, the never quite feeling at home that grew at this point; a 24 hour car journey to Essex was the beginning!
This was what messed with my head, unsettled me, put me in a restless frame of mind. Of course there was adventure a sense of newness and it wasn’t like I was on my own. This wasn’t some great Joseph Conrad type quest into the Heart of Darkness this was a family, a close family, a good family journeying to another part of the United Kingdom, I had 3 brothers so it was never like I had no friends or no one to play with in this new land, we had each other.
Siblings are important when you feel lost they are constants in your life I can’t understand why siblings fall out, you will know them all your life they will always be around.
Life in England was different from Ireland for starters everytime they had a cup of tea they just had a cup of tea! no biscuits, no sausage rolls or tray bakes just tea. Now I wasn’t a tea drinker but I noticed the distinct lack of food that went on the coffee table if you where ever around someones house for a drink.
Then of course there were our accents, I never knew I had an accent until I moved to England. Children are cruel, if you don’t understand it, make fun of it or mimic it, this is what happened to us along with some name calling and being referred to as paddies. We had moved and by default we had become different, sometimes I didn’t mind being different but most of the time I just wanted to fit in and be like everyone else. I started to look back not in an unhappy way but just with a sense of I wish I could return, it wasn’t until we returned for a holiday a year later that all our Irish friends said we sounded English! Now we were stuck, the Irish felt we sounded English and the English felt we sounded Irish. No wonder I started to feel disconnected. No one likes being called Paddy, well unless it is your real name, but as a derogatory term it didn’t fill me with much joy. Thank fully two of my brothers were very close to me in age so we could at least beat the name callers up. But this didn’t always work sometimes the bullying at school was horrible but we didn’t tell our parents as they had enough on their plates, we just got our heads down and got on with it. Living with a sense of restlessness and disconnectedness.
I don't know why I am writing this I just sat down this morning started typing and this is what came out.
Maybe it's because we all want to belong we want to remain connected.